NOAA FUNDING TO AID RECOVERY EFFORT FOR OYSTER BEDS IN ST. BERNARD AND PLAQUEMINES PARISH

Release Date: 12/20/2005

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has signed agreements with St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes in which the parishes will hire Louisiana oyster fishermen to perform assessment work on public oyster reefs east of the Mississippi River.


Federal funding provided by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will pay for survey work to determine where reef reconstruction is needed due to the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"These federal dollars will dually lay the groundwork for replenishing the natural resource and get our citizens back to work, said Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.  "Projects of this nature represent the best use of federal recovery funding and these funds are readily available based on last years storm recovery efforts that were underway.  NOAA is to be commended for working with LDWF to get this done.
The funds, originally appropriated by Congress to address damage done by Hurricane Ivan, will implement the Louisiana Oyster Resource Improvement Project (Grant #NA05NMF4540035), and provide up to $600,000 for each parish to administer the assessment project and hire resident oyster harvesters to perform the field assessment work. LDWF obtained federal approval to reprogram this funding for much-needed water bottom assessments in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita in August and September.


We are very pleased to receive NOAA funds in Plaquemines Parish to assist the recovery of the oyster industry, said Benny Rousselle, parish president.


Henry Junior Rodriguez, St. Bernard Parish president, added, The survey work done now, and the follow-up funding for reef building work that we anticipate, will ensure the long-term health of this important segment of the commercial fishing industry.  Councilman Ricky Melerines efforts in this matter are to be commended.


EDITORS:  For more information, contact Jim Hanifen at 225-765-2383 or by email at jhanifen@wlf.louisiana.gov